This post marks the 80th article I have written so far for this blog and it is all but fitting that I dedicate this to the Centennial Anniversary of the Republic of China. Today marks the day when the Nationalist rebels led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Four Century-old Qing Dynasty and its last Emperor Pu-Yi. The struggle for a China free from corrupt rule and rule of the people, by the people and for people. The streets of Taiwan are now busy for the celebration in a few hours but strangely, the mainland China also commemorated the event by giving tribute to the Founding Father Sun Yat-sen albeit avoiding references to the Republic of China for political reasons.Nevertheless, we can see a uniting factor between the two rival governments amidst the plaguing and volatile struggle. Having been educated in a Chinese Institution founded on the Three Principles of the People of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Republic of China has a special significance in my heart. The stories I hear from our textbooks about Dr. Sun and his principles as explained by our laoshi or our singing of San Min Chu Yi made an impact in my life as I view the Chinese concept of democracy.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen may not be as well-known as Mahatma Gandhi or our very own Dr. Jose Rizal but his life is worth studying and emulating. My connections with Dr. Sun Yat-sen is not just in the institutional formation but also in our faith. Did I mention that Dr. Sun was also a fervent believer and was baptized in Hong Kong to a Congregationalist Church and was frequently attending a Presbyterian Church in San Francisco? Undoubtedly, Christian Principles impacted much on the life of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and became a basis of his writings on freedom and moral values of the Chinese nation. He did not grow up in a rich family yet his life is an inspiration for success. Indeed, his reputation as the “George Washington of China” holds but I see him more as a Chinese Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Sun Yat-sen deserves to be remembered not just a Chinese hero but a global leader whose dreams, aspirations and plans contributed to the political and economic success of Taiwan and indirectly, that of mainland China as well.
Curiously, he was connected with the Filipino struggle for freedom as well. Filipino Revolutionary Artemio Ricarte was his friend and coffee buddy in Japan. There was one narrative that says of a pact between Dr. Sun and Ricarte that if Philippines gained her freedom, she shall help free China. Unfortunately, this never came to pass since we lost our freedom to the Americans. Nevertheless, the China we see now was shaped by the revolution Dr. Sun succeeded to consumate on this day 100 years ago. My wish for this day that Double Ten Celebration would not remain only as a mere non-working holiday for students in Taiwan and Nationalist-founded Chinese Institutions in the Philippines but the understand the reason and the values as to why Double Ten happened. I greet the people of Taiwan and the citizens of the Republic of China a Happy Centennial on this historic day.